Though the Life of Saint Cadoc is mostly concerned with events in Wales, several chapters include information about the Old North. Whilst perhaps of little historical value, the references may have some basis in genuine tradition. The chapters are:
- Ch. 16 which tells a story involving Sawyl Penuchel, son of Pabo Post Prydain.
- Ch. 22 which recounts the saint’s journey to Scotland and “a city, which is near to the mountain Bannauc“, where he founded a monastery. The city is probably Stirling and Bannauc the name of the hill or uplands from which Bannockburn takes its name. Whilst in Scotland, Cadoc revives a giant, Caw Prydyn, once a ruler of the highlands who came to plunder the coastal region and was damned to hell for his actions. Caw is said to be the father of St Gildas and other saints mentioned in the Welsh pedigrees.
- Ch. 46 which describes the saint’s ancestry and includes a version of the Coel Hen dynasty given in the Harleian Genealogies.
16. Of the robbers swallowed up in the earth.
To this miracle another not unlike did the divine power perform to declare the merits of the blessed man. There was a certain chief, named Sawyl, living not far from his monastery, who, full of evil affections, arrived with his accomplices at his abode, and violently took from thence food and drink. Both he and all his followers eating and drinking in turn, whilst the clergy groaning at such infamy and shame entered the church (for the monastery at that time happened to lack the presence of the man of God) and devoutly supplicated the Lord for the castigation of the invaders. And whilst they were weeping with great lamentation, the holy man arrived suddenly, and diligently inquired of them the cause of so much sorrow. After they had related the reason he says to them with unchanged countenance:
“Have patience, for patience is the mother of all virtues. Suffer them to steep their hearts in debauchery and drunkenness, so that being drunk they will fall into heavy sleep together. Then, when they are oppressed with sleep, shave off with sharpest razors the half part of their beards and hair as an eternal disgrace against them, and also cut off the lips of their horses and their ears as well”.
And they did as he had bidden them. Then the wretched brigands, having somewhat digested in their sleep the superfluity of what they had consumed, and at length having waked, being stupid with excessive drinking, mount their steeds, and begin their journey immediately. Then the man of God said to his clergy,
“Let each one of you put on his clothing and shoes to go to meet them, or ye will perish in death, for our enemy will return and will slay us with the sword from the greatest to the least, when he shall perceive that he was mocked by us”.
Therefore they each put on their clothes, and saint Cadog clothed himself with his garment, and there followed him nearly fifty clerics to meet the deadly tyrant with chants and hymns and psalms. And when they ascended a certain mound, Sawyl Benuchel and his satellites descended to meet them. Then before the eyes of the servant of God the earth opened its mouth, and swallowed up the tyrant alive with his men on account of their wickedness, lest they should cruelly murder the man of God with his clergy. And the ditch, wherein they were swallowed up, appears to this day to all passing by, which, always remaining open as a witness of this affair, is not allowed to be closed in by any one.
Cadog of good memory and his clergy returned to their own abode with great pomp, glorifying God and singing the Ambrosian hymn Te Deum laudamus, and what follows, to the end. When these things were over, the blessed Cadog, the brethren being present, blesses them in this wise, saying,
“Blessed are you of the Lord, and blessed your speech and counsel. May the Lord grant this privilege and prerogative to you, twelve shavers, who figure in type the number of the twelve Apostles, and to all others who in this district shall hold your place in the future. If judgement and useful counsel should be wanting in the whole of this country, let it be found here with you. If twelve wise ordained men should be wanting, let the counsel of twelve unordained clerics prevail. And if twelve clerics shall not be present, let judgement and counsel be allowed to twelve small boys and girls with unmarried women”.
22. Of the journey of Saint Cadoc into Scotland, and the miracles there performed by him
Again, another miracle worthy of being recorded, divine authority deigned to perform for the praise of his name, and the glory of his faithful servant Cadoc. On a certain day, he spoke to his disciples who were assembled together, as follows:
“Since by divine direction, I have for the love of God gone thrice to Jerusalem, and seven times to Rome, it now remains that I should go to the church of Saint Andrew the apostle, which is known to have been built in Albania, which is commonly called Scotland; wherefore I appoint for you, in my place, the rector and prelate Elli, my pupil, whom we know to be constantly attentive from his infancy to obey divine ordinances, and to be well skilled in evangelical doctrines; to whose instructions in those things attend with diligence to the best of your ability.”
And they said, “Whatever may please thee, we will willingly agree to.”
Then the man of God arose and went with three of his disciples to Scotland, and proceeded to the aforesaid church of Saint Andrew; and whilst he was returning, and had come to a certain city, which is near to the mountain Bannawc [urbem que citra montem Bannauc], and said to be in the middle of Scotland, in that night while there was a pause, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying “The Lord thy God orders thee through me, not to depart hence, but rather remain here for the space of seven years for the purpose of converting the people of this place to faith in the Lord.” The man of God here remained the appointed time, teaching the heathen people, and curing all the diseased.
On a certain day, when Cadoc was digging in the ground about his constructed monastery, he found a collar bone of some ancient hero, of incredible size, through which, wonderful to be said, a champion might ride without inconvenience. Which being found, Saint Cadoc wondering said, “I will not go for either meat or drink, but I shall pray for meat, and shed tears for drink, until this wonderful thing, whatever it may be, is explained to us.”
And in the same night, the voice of an angel from heaven addressed him saying, “Lo the entreaty of thy prayer is acceptable to the ears of the Lord; for what thou has humbly requested of God, he will grant to thee; but do thou encourage thy clergy, and the rest of the people with words, lest they should be affrighted, if any thing happen to them. For tomorrow, an old giant will arise in the first hour of the day, who may assist the men in digging.”
Having heard these things, when he arose in the morning, he related to the people what the angel had mentioned. And while he was yet speaking to the people, there appeared to them a horrible revived and immense giant, altogether exceeding the human form in size.
Which having been seen, the inhabitants of the town being terrified, said, “Lo, a phantom transfigured into the form of a man, is come to seduce us.” But the monstrous hero immediately placed himself at the feet of the man of God, and said, “Holy Cadoc, eminent servant of God, blessed art thou by God and man; I earnestly beseech thy benighnity, that thou wilt not by any means permit my miserable soul, hitherto suffering dreadful punishment in hell, to go there again.”
“What saint art thou,” said Cadoc, “or of what family wert thou descended, and also thy departure from this life minutely relate.”
The giant answered “I reigned formerly for many years beyond the mountain Bannawc; it happened that by the instigation of the devil, I and all my robbers came to these coasts, for the sake of plundering, and laying them waste. The king who reigned over this country at that time, pursuing us with his troops, a battle was fought between us, and I and my army were slain. From the very day of my being killed, we have been hitherto tormented in the devouring flames of hell, but my punishment exceeds in torture the torments of others, because in all these things I have sinned against the great God as the Scripture saith, “The powerful shall suffer the greater torments.”
The man of God enquired by what name he was called. And he answered, “I am called for a long time Caw, with the surname Prydyn, or Cawr.” [Cau cognomine Pritdin, seu Caur]
To whom, said the man of God, “Rejoice, and be of a cheerful mind, for it is granted to me by God that thou shalt live longer in this world, and for the course of thy present life, if thou wilt exhibit faithful and devoted obedience to God, and wilt humbly obey my doctrines, and wilt perfom due satisfaction for thy sins, thy soul will at length be removed from the mournful prison of the body to eternal glory, and there happily reign with God in a state of happiness.”
To these words the giant thus answered, “All the things that you have ordered appear light to me, and I will willingly perform them effectually.” Therefore from that day, to the death of the man of God, the digger performed by digging what had been commanded him. That the miracle might therefore increase in celebrity through Scotland, the Scottish reguli gave him four and twenty villages.
46. A tracing back of the genealogy of saint Cadog.
The genealogy is traced back of the mother of the same saint on the side of her father from the best stocks of the kings of the Irish. Briscethach begat Brusc, Brusc begat Urbf, Urbf begat Anlach, Anlach begat Brachan, Brachan begat Gladusa, the mother of saint Cadog.
This is the genealogy of Gladusa on the side of her mother from the race of the Kings of the Morcanentes and the Mecumentes. Anna, whom learned men say was the cousin of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, bore Beli, Beli begat Aballach, Aballach begat Baallad [Harleian Genealogies miss this generation; JC20 has Auallach map Aphlech, which is clearly the same name repeated], Baallad begat Oudolenn, Oudolenn begat Eudos, Eudos begat Ebiud, Ebiud begat Outigirun, Outigirun begat Oudicant, Oudicant begat Ritigirnus, Ritigirnus begat Rimetel, Rimetel begat Grat, Grat begat Urban, Urban begat Teilpuill, Teilpuill begat Teuhuant, Teuhuant begat Tecmant, Tecmant begat Guotepauc, Guotepauc begat Coilhen, Coilhen begat Guorgust, Guorgust begat Merchiaun, Merchiaun begat Cinmarch, Cinmarch begat Henninni, his daughter, Henninni bare Mouric, Meouric begat Erbic, Erbic begat Yrb, Yrb begat Idnerh, Idnerh begat Teitfall, Teitfall begat Teudiric. Teudiric, who was made a martyr in Gwent, to wit, Merthir Teudiric, who begat Marchell, mother of Gladusa. Now Gladusa bore the blessed Cadog.
~ Adapted from W. J. Rees (1853) Lives of the Cambro-British Saints